Raavan editor A Sreekar Prasad doesn't mince words despite his 'silence'. "We don't want to say anything hurtful about Mr Bachchan" is the explanation he offers
The seven-time National award winning editor of Mani Ratnam's Raavan, A Sreekar Prasad got an unexpected rap on his knuckles when the Big B blamed the apparent disjointed narrative of Raavan on the editing.
The soft-spoken Sreekar laughs uncomfortably at the reminder of Mr Bachchan's comments. "We'd rather keep silent on this because we don't want to say anything hurtful about him. He's such a senior artiste."
A Sreekar Prasad and Amitabh Bachchan
However he reluctantly opens up and admits he was hurt at Mr B's comments. "As a member of the audience, he has the right to say whatever he wants to. We've been in the process of editing Raavan for a year and a half. I have gone through the footage with Mani so rigorously. We were probably in the best position to judge what was good for the film."
When told that the pace of Raavan was too hurried Sreekar protests, "There is a reason for it. The director chose to start the narrative on a very high note. It begins with the kidnapping and moves straight ahead to the finale. We had no back projection, no explanations, and no character establishment. We chose to tell our story in this way. We didn't want to spoon-feed the audience."
Sreekar says it was a conscious decision between Mani and the editor to create a new pattern of storytelling. "We wanted to start on the highest possible note and keep the tempo going upwards. A small back projection comes in only in the second half."
Mr Bachchan has commented on how the whole notion of Abhishek's character conversing with his ten heads, doesn't come across.
Explains Sreekar, "Mr Bachchan wanted us to graphically show ten heads. Mani and I tried that. But we made a conscious decision not to get into that area. We decided to let the audience get into the character's head as the narrative progressed. I am sure there are lots of people who didn't get the point. But it was a risk worth taking. Because a certain section did comprehend."
Sreekar has worked with Mani Ratnam on several earlier occasions including Yuva and Guru. "We've worked together for the last ten years. We're very much on the same wavelength. We stand by the editing. We wanted the audience to understand the characters' motivations as the narrative progressed. Mr Bachchan hasn't seen the footage that we've edited. So he doesn't know what process of elimination we've gone through. It's really sad that my work has become a controversy."
Born in 1963 in Chennai. Graduated in English literature from the University of Madras. Learned editing from father. Independently edited documentaries and more than 300 feature films for film makers from all over India in various languages.
The editor has several laurels and awards to flaunt. These include...
National Award For Best Editing:
1 For Hindi Feature Film "RAAKH" (1988)
2 For Assamese Feature Film "RAAG-BIRAAG" (1996)
3 For English Short Feature Film "NAUKACHRITIAMU" (1996)
4 For Tamil Feature Film "THE TERRORIST" (1998)
5 For Malayalam Feature Film "VANAPRASTHAM" (1999)
6 For Tamil Feature Film "KANNATHIL MUTHAMITTAL" (2002)
7 For Hindi Feature Film "FIRAAQ"(2008)
Best editor at Dubai International film festival 2008 for the Hindi feature film FIRAAQ
Other Awards For Best Editing:
1. CTA Award For The Malayalam Feature Film "VYUHAM" (1991)
2. Kerala State Award For The Malayalam Feature Film "YODHA" (1992)
3. Kerala State Film Critics Award For The Malayalam Feature Film "PETERSCOT" (1995)
4. The Indian Academy of Advertising Film Art Award For The Advertisement Film "MRF BEACH" (1998)
5. Lux Asianet Award For The Malayalam Feature Film "KANNEZHUTHI POTTUM THOTU" (1999)
6. Kerala State Award For The Malayalam Feature Films "VANAPRASTHAM" "Jalamarmaram" and "KARUNAM" (1999)
7. Andhra state Nandhi Award For The Telugu Feature Film "MANOHARAM" (2000)
8. Film Fare Award For The Hindi Feature Film "DIL CHAHTA HAI" (2002)
9. Film Fare Award For The Hindi Feature Film "FIRAAQ" (2010)